A Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac Terms

Draba

A genus of flowers that grows in Wisconsin. Leopold often refers to the draba as a single flower, when in fact the genus contains over four hundred species. (read full term analysis)

Cheat Grass

A prickly grass native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, it sprang up as an invasive species in the American Midwest after overgrazing destroyed the native flora. (read full term analysis)

Bur Oak

An oak tree common in North America. It has thick, cork-like bark that makes it resistant to prairie fires. (read full term analysis)

Tamarack

A North American coniferous tree. Its needles turn yellow in the autumn, and Leopold writes about the unparalleled beauty of the experience of hunting grouse among the falling needles of the Tamarack. (read full term analysis)

Candle

The very tip of a tree, which determines how it will grow. Also known as a meristem. (read full term analysis)
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Passenger Pigeon

A now extinct breed of North American pigeon. Once extraordinarily common, it was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. (read full term analysis)

Peat Bog

A bog is a type of wetland. A peat bog specifically is a wetland that contains layers of decomposed plant matter, or peat. They are notable for their biodiversity. (read full term analysis)

Grouse

A game bird common across the Northern Hemisphere. (read full term analysis)

Gavilan

A river ecosystem in the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico. (read full term analysis)

Split-Rail Value

A term coined by Leopold. This refers to a set of values that can be practiced by partaking in any activity that reminds a person of the past, and a time when people were… (read full term analysis)

Man-Earth Experiences

A term coined by Leopold. This refers to any set of experiences that reminds a person of their place in the natural ecosystem with its interconnected community of life. (read full term analysis)

Sportsmanship

A term repurposed by Leopold. He defines sportsmanship as any voluntary behaviors that limit a person’s use of mechanical technology in favor of a more primitive technology that requires greater skill. For example, Leopold… (read full term analysis)

Land Ethic

A philosophical term invented by Leopold. He believes that human beings should treat the land ethically. That is, he believes humans should see themselves as part of a community, and include the land itself… (read full term analysis)

Conservation

The act of protecting or restoring the natural environment. People who conserve are called conservationists. Leopold compares the act of conserving the land to a friendship. It requires loving the land and all its many… (read full term analysis)

Land Pyramid

A visualization of the ecosystem that places soil on the bottom, then plants, then herbivores, then omnivores, and finally, at the top, apex predators. Leopold has invented this visualization in the hopes that picturing the… (read full term analysis)

Wilderness

Leopold defines the wilderness as “the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.” Wilderness varies depending on its location, its flora, and its fauna, but all wildernesses are necessarily untouched… (read full term analysis)